On a good day I realize that I’m a very different person than I was 6 months ago. I’m healthier, I have more energy (if you thought that was even POSSIBLE!), I feel more comfortable in my own skin, I’m happier and more focused. On a day where I’m overwhelmed and don’t know where to focus that feeling of being overwhelmed, you get this. There are some people, when stressed, that are incredibly solution oriented. Getting “stuff” done is soothing to them. Then there are the people out there, like myself, who just sulk. When I’m feeling stressed or just generally overwhelmed with life, I have NO clue what to do with myself! I stew and sulk..and then EVERYTHING looks wrong. So here’s a question folks….without the tools to PROPERLY diminish those feelings of stress and frustration, does ALL THIS MATTER? If I’m feeding my body nothing but PURE, CLEAN foods; using my body consistently in functional, exhausting ways; but allowing my thoughts to eat away at my happiness for, usually, no legitimate reason, am I even making progress?? Is there even a net gain here???
What EXACTLY does stress do to our body? Well, without any education on the matter, I knew it sure didn’t make me FEEL good! I knew that in my senior year of college, when SUPER stressed out, I developed a “weird stomach issue”. I knew that when one thing piled on top of one OTHER thing, everything started looking funky; my “world perception” was way off. Then steps in the educators… I learned for REAL what was happening underneath the surface every time I allowed small things to eat at me. I learned that when we are stressed, we’re put into a “fight or flight” mode. Usually I literally get the feeling of wanting to flee. In the past I have been called a “runner” a time or two..and not because I like to lace up and hit the pavement. I was given the example of being face to face with something really, effin’ scary…like, let’s say a huge grizzly bear. Well, if you were face to face with this beast, how would you feel? You would probably start getting that “surreal” feeling (I think that’s what I usually describe it as, but that vision narrowing, more focused, heart rate up, breathing accelerated feeling…), that freaking the heck OUT feeling…right? Well yes, that all happens…that’s what we can feel, what is obvious to us. What, however, happens under the surface? As Dr. Stephen Franson stated in one of his blogs, “your blood sugar and blood lipids elevate for energy, clotting factors increase in your blood, and your immune, digestion, and reproductive systems are shut down in the name of energy prioritization.” This is all AMAZING when you’re in a situation, a SHORT LIVED situation hopefully, where you need all the energy you can to get the heck away from whatever is threatening your LIFE! However, in the world we live in now, we’re CHRONICALLY in this state of stress…what do you think that is doing to our bodies?? Digestion, effed. Reproduction..hahaha, you think you’re going to be thinking about turning on the romance when you’re face to face with a grizzler? Immune system shut down?? How’s that H1N1 treating you? Seriously…KNOWING this stuff is stressing me out more!!! I know I’m hurting my body when I’m stressed. So then, you ask, “Jen…why the heck do you let it get to you then??” I don’t have the right tools yet, YET, guys… I haven’t learned how to manage stress quite yet I guess. So for now..I’m sitting at a coffee shop, searching for that zen state. It’s actually quite amazing what a #2 pencil (it’s my newly found (again) simple pleasure) with a pad of paper, a laptop and a cup of Mighty Leaf vanilla bean tea can do for the soul.